Colorado’s neighbor to the north is adding a new wrinkle to its hunting opportunities this season.
For the first time, Wyoming will raffle off 13 big game hunting tags in 2014 to give all hunters a shot at harvesting one of the highly coveted trophy animals throughout the state without waiting years or breaking the bank to do so.
Like Northwest Colorado, Wyoming is known for its array of big game species as well as the high demand for the right to hunt them each year. So, like Colorado, Wyoming has used a limited draw and preference points to determine which hunters may go each year.
This means hunters often have to wait in excess of 15 years, or spend tens of thousands of dollars on tags auctioned off by nonprofits in the state in order to hunt some of the most sought-after species in the best locations.
“I believe a tag for bighorn sheep sold for $80,000 last year,” said Glenn Pauley, planning coordinator for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
So this year, Wyoming Game and Fish is offering the Super Tag and Super Tag Trifecta hunting license raffles to open those species up to everyone interested.
“Our preference point system helps address the opportunity to hunt big game,” Pauley said. “But it can still take 15 to 18 years before having the opportunity to hunt that animal. This raffle provides that to a broader audience.”
The Super Tag raffle will select 10 winners, one for each of the 10 premier big game species in Wyoming: antelope, bighorn sheep, bison, black bear, deer, elk, gray wolf, mountain goat, mountain lion and Shiras moose. The Super Tag Trifecta will give one hunter the chance to select three tags of their choice.
Winning the raffle gives a hunter the right to choose the area where they hunt, as well. According to a release from Wyoming Game and Fish, the areas for the moose tag winner will be limited to units with at least 10 tags available, and for bighorn sheep at least eight must be available.
Tickets for the raffle cost $10 and all money will go toward conservation efforts, Pauley said. Residents or non-residents are welcome to purchase as many tickets as they choose. Winning a Super Tag will not wipe out any preference points a hunter may have accrued, and five-year waiting periods for moose and sheep, as well as once-in-a-lifetime restrictions on bison and mountain goats will be waived.
Tickets are on sale through May 1, and winners will be notified by May 15.
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com.